I Am Woman

rating icon 5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Le Freak
02. I Will Survive
03. She Bop
04. Memory (feat. Mrs Smith)
05. Lay All Your Love on Me
06. Venus
07. Goldfinger
08. Respect (feat. Marcy Harriell)
09. Flashdance… What a Feeling
10. I'm So Excited
11. Here You Come Again
12. All I Wanna Do
13. I Am Woman
14. Roar

An undisputed smash at festivals everywhere, TRAGEDY are undeniably entertaining in the flesh; their heavy metal reworkings of pop and disco hits so well executed that resistance is generally useless, particularly after a few beers. Perhaps surprisingly, the New Yorkers managed to inject that irrepressible energy into "Disco Balls To The Wall", their first album for Napalm. Released in 2021, it somehow defied the tradition that musical jokes rapidly wear thin when committed to tape. In reality, "Disco Balls…" was wildly enjoyable and certain bits of it were nothing short of inspired. If you haven't heard TRAGEDY's preposterous mixing of MERCYFUL FATE's "Evil" and GERRY RAFFERTY's "Baker Street", well, you should.

The law of diminishing returns will get everyone in the end, and while TRAGEDY still demonstrate plenty of invention and irreverence on "I Am Woman", the creeping sense that these things will inevitably run out of steam is hard to avoid. Part of the problem is that once we get past the initial conceit – heavy metal plays disco classics, hilarity ensues – there still needs to be some extra work done to make the end product worth experiencing more than once. There are certainly flashes of the ingenuity that made the previous album such a joy: transplanting the legendary "Smoke On The Water" riff into CYNDI LAUPER's "She Bop"; somehow finding a connection between ABBA's "Lay All Your Love On Me" and "The Trooper"; SHERYL CROWS's "All I Wanna Do" is re-imagined as a hair metal banger, and "I'm So Excited" is such a great song that TRAGEDY could have played it on kazoos and it would have been a treat.

The downside is that many of these tracks have been transformed into heavy metal tunes without anything else of note occurring. As nobody from the metal world seems to have covered "Goldfinger" before, TRAGEDY's straight but likeable version will simply have to do, and ARETHA FRANKLIN's "Respect" has never sounded quite so loud and aggressive before. But pedestrian takes on "Le Freak", "Venus" and several others amount to thin gruel after the previous album's many triumphs. The first half of "I Will Survive" is a caterwauling mess that is only saved when the song bursts into its slightly predictable power metal coda.

It goes without saying that all of this will make perfect sense in some sweaty summer festival tent in Germany at midnight. And the ABBA tune is amazing. But no, not this time, you silly people.

Author: Dom Lawson
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